Solar Energy in the Parks

Many of the state and national parks have embraced renewable energy.  Installed in 2011, the Oliver Lee Memorial State Park photovoltaic solar panels provide hot shower water and in-slab radiant heat for the bath house and visitors center.  With 310 days of sunshine per year, New Mexico is an ideal location for solar power.  New Mexico is the 4th sunniest state, behind Arizona, California and Nevada. An advantage of rooftop solar is that it uses the existing surface area to produce this power, as opposed to utility-sized solar power stations which require new space to be licensed and used. 

Oliver Lee solar panels

Solar power is already comparably priced to fossil fuel power in the southwest.  Solar costs worldwide have been coming down significantly in the past 30 years. Most of the cost is in the capital and installation of the initial system but then ongoing costs are minimal.  In the southwest installed residential solar prices are competitive with residential electricity prices after incentives.  In 2013, solar residential prices without incentives are expected to reach "parity" with conventional utility prices. (Source: Solar Cell Central)

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